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2020 Social Justice Symposium


Fourteenth Annual Social Justice Symposium

“Fostering Mental Health Together: Intersectional Approaches for Resilience”


This symposium marks the 14th anniversary of this student led event that has brought in a number of notable experts in the field of social justice. Please reserve the morning of Friday, April 3rd to participate in and celebrate this wonderful and FREE event!

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Social Justice Symposium will occur via Zoom, an online conferencing system that has been widely used throughout the University of Arizona campus. 




The Social Justice Symposium is a one day event to engage faculty, students, community members, and health professionals in dialogue to raise awareness and foster social change. The Symposium is run entirely by students at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. The 14th Annual Social Justice Symposium will explore an integrated and humane approach to mental health and social justice's most difficult challenges.

Presentation Abstract:

We Are Many: Diversity and Resilience from the Inside-Out In A Time of Global Crisis

So many are familiar with a sociological perspective of diversity and resilience but forget how important it is to understand these concepts from the inside-out, especially now in a time of global crisis. Similarly, many people-both public health experts and laypeople--view mental health from a place of problems rather than possibilities. In this unparalleled moment, public health servants are called to help the world bridge the gap between problem and possibility. Using examples from poetry, music, politics, and pop-culture, this talk puts forth a new model, one that celebrates the creativity and progress that comes from wrestling with our internal diversity. I'll show how embracing and cultivating our inner range can lead to a quantum leap at the individual and systemic levels, and set us on a new course for progress in our field and at this unique moment of crisis. I'll also show this model helps smooth out the many divisions occurring in our highly polarized culture, moving us towards a more integrated and humane approach to mental health and social justice's most difficult challenges. 

The main event will occur on Friday, April 3rd, 2020 from 8:00am-1:30pm (MST) ( The symposium will begin with opening remarks from Dean Iman Hakim of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the Social Justice Symposium Planning Committee co-chairs.

Dr. Michael Alcee will be delivering our keynote address, virtually from New York, on the powerful topic, “We Are Many: Diversity and Resilience from the Inside-Out In A Time of Global Crisis.” 

There will be two Zoom rooms available with different talks occurring simultaneously in each room during our breakout sessions. The links for these Zoom rooms can be found in the table below. We will then close with a panel discussion which will include representatives from local and state organizations that focus on mental health and wellbeing.

Information pertaining to the schedule of events, our keynote speaker, and abstracts of our breakout sessions are in our Social Justice Symposium Main Program found at this link:

Admission is free and open to the public. Please register using link above.

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Keynote Bio

Michael Alcee, Ph.D

Michael Alcee, Ph.D is a clinical psychologist, TEDx speaker, podcast host, and author who specializes in using his background in music, literature, and the arts to showcase the transformative power of psychotherapy. He is the 2019 winner of the American Psychological Association Schillinger Memorial prize for his essay on the link between jazz and psychoanalysis: "Reading the Changes: Freud's Improvisational Art." He currently works in private practice in Tarrytown, NY and as Mental Health Educator at Manhattan School of Music. To learn more about him, check out his website at You can also learn more about his work helping inspire others to write the book and give the TEDxTalk they've always dreamed of giving at

Link to TED talk:

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